Why You Gain Weight When You Overeat
Did you overeat recently? In this post, I’ll explain what your body is doing with that food and the three reasons why you gain weight after a feast.
Why You Gain Weight After a Feast [Video]
Whether you are looking to avoid gaining weight during the holiday season, or you are trying to get back on track after a binge. This video will explain:
- What’s going on inside your body
- Two tricks for getting your diet back on track quickly.
How Your Body Sees a Feast
I recorded the video above in the midst of the holiday season here in the U.S. The holidays bring a lot of opportunities to overeat.
But your eyes and your body see a meal in different ways.
When you understand how your body handles a big meal, you’ll have a secret weapon that could help you avoid holiday weight gain.
For instance, when you look at a holiday table, your eyes see the food…
But, your body sees the nutrients, namely carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates and Weight Gain
Big meals tend to be very heavy in carbohydrates, which come in the form of potatoes, bread stuffing, pasta dishes, corn, casseroles, bread, and desserts.
Carbohydrates are unique nutrients because they have the ability to hold water in your body.
For every gram of carbohydrate that you take in, your body can retain up to 4 grams of water. So, the more carbs you eat, the more water weight you gain.
Why You Gain Weight Quickly (Water Weight)
Water weight is the first reason you gain weight after a feast and it is most likely the most startling weight gain.
It’s what you’re experiencing when you notice an extreme increase in your weight the day after a binge or feast.
It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for your body to gain five pounds of fat overnight. But, you can certainly gain five pounds of water weight, if you overeat carbs the night before.
Carbs are The Culprit When it Comes To Weight Gain
Let’s keep looking at the carbohydrates in our feast because carbs are significant when we talk about weight gain.
Inside your body, carbs are broken down into simple sugars called glucose.
Glucose is very easy for your cells to burn as energy and energy is one of the main things your body is after.
The problem is that it’s way too easy to get too much of a good thing and end up taking in excess energy.
Unless you are highly active, you don’t need to take in a lot of carbs at one sitting to satisfy your body’s energy needs.
If you have a big meal, and then sit on the couch and take a nap or play board games or do other non-physical activities, your body does not need a lot of energy, so that glucose from those carbs gets stored.
Excess Carbs Equal Excess Energy
Some carbs get stored in your muscles and liver, which is a good thing, but those are very small closets, so they fill up quickly.
The leftovers get converted to triglycerides and go into the big closets, which are your fat cells.
So, the second reason feasting tends to lead to weight gain is because feasts, or even late-night binges, tend to be high in carbs.
Carbs are energy. But, when you overeat you take in more energy than your body needs, so your body goes into fat storage mode.
Body fat is simply stored energy.
How to Get Into “Fat-Burning” Mode
Fat cells have the ability to fill and fill and fill until you get your body back into a fat-burning state.
I teach a low-carb diet because it is the most efficient way to get your body into a fat-burning state.
To be low carb, your talking about keeping your carbohydrate intake for the day at or below say 100 grams.
So, let’s put that into perspective, a piece of pumpkin pie has about 40 grams of carbs.
If your meal included a serving of bread stuffing and a dinner roll, you’re already high on carbs for the day.
This high-carb intake makes it more likely that your body will store fat rather than burn it.
What About Calories?
Now, feasts do not only consist of carbohydrates. You also take in fats and protein from things like meat, gravy, butter and what have you.
These nutrients factor into the third reason you gain weight after you overeat, which is simply eating too many calories at one time.
We get calories from three things: carbs, proteins, and fats. So, overdoing it on any combination of these three nutrients can cause weight gain.
Like carbohydrates, overeating fat provides your body with more energy than it needs, so dietary fat can become body fat.
Fat & Simple Carbs = Fast Weight Gain
But here’s the thing, this conversion of dietary fat to body fat is much more likely to happen if you are eating the fat with a lot of simple carbs.
Any time you’re putting sugar and fat into a recipe, you’ve created a fat-making formula.
Remember that glucose or sugar is your body’s easy energy source. So, your body uses those simple carbs first to meet its energy needs.
The problem is that leaves the fatty acids from the meal floating around in your blood with nowhere to be burned.
So, they get stored and essentially, you’ve ended up feeding your fat cells.
Can Too Much Protein Turn Into Fat?
Protein gets broken down into amino acids in your digestive tract. Those small pieces are then reassembled and made into new proteins for your body.
But here again, if you eat more protein than your body needs, then your liver can turn the excess into glucose molecules. So, in a more roundabout way, excessive proteins can end up feeding your fat cells as well.
How to Lose the Weight You Gained
If you overate recently, you likely have done no irreparable harm, but there are some tricks that you can use to get your body back on track quickly.
One thing you can do to speed up weight loss is intermittent fasting.
By simply delaying your next meal after a binge, you allow your body to get back to a fat-burning state.
I have a blog post and video that explains three ways to do intermittent fasting, including the easy form that I do regularly.
Another thing you can do is reduce your carb intake for the next few days, especially simple carbs like sugar.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.